Marking anniversary of CARP, Terror bill will be used to assault legal and democratic peasant struggles – Anakpawis

Marking anniversary of CARP
Terror bill will be used to assault legal and democratic peasant struggles – Anakpawis

Manila, Philippines – Members of Anakpawis Party-list, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Pamalakaya and supporters held a protest in front of the Department of Agriculture central office in Quezon City, in marking the 32nd anniversary of the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and called for genuine agrarian reform in the country, urgent production subsidy to poor peasants and scrapping of the “Anti-Terrorism” or “Terror Bill” as branded by activists or for President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the said bill.

“The terror bill will be used against legal and democratic peasant activists who are upholding the sector’s welfare in the country. This is a no-brainer as even at present, the majority of the activists who are victims of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte regime are from the peasant sector,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said during the protest.

Based on the data of Karapatan human rights group, as of last year, more than 80% or 239 of the total 293 activist-victims of extrajudicial killings were peasants. Moreover, 104 victims were members of Anakpawis, KMP and Pamalakaya. According to the KMP, it has reached to 251, with the latest victim, Allan Aguilando, leader of Northern Samar Small Farmers’ Association (NSSFA), who was killed last May 26 in Catarman town.

“Peasant activists are the most red-tagged in the country, accused of being members or supporters of the New People’s Army. Just because peasant activists are organizing their ranks and militantly defending their rights to land, they are being targeted by harassment campaigns of government armed forces, who are colluding with landgrabbers, landlords, big companies and corrupt bureaucrats,” he cited.

The latest case is the “Calaca 6” or farmers belonging to Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Coral ni Lopez (SAMACOLO), who were arrested by elements of heavily-armed PNP SWAT in Batangas last May 10. Witnesses reported that 13 vehicles and two trucks were deployed to raid their residences.

“Today, when it is clear as day that CARP is an epochal failure, implemented for more than three decades, funded with more than P300 billion, still it failed to address the chronic social ill in the country, which is landlessness among peasants, the legitimacy of peasant activism remains vital, as well as, the democratic movement for the defense of rights to land and free distribution of land. The terror bill undermines the peasants’ constitutional rights in the country,” he said.

Ultimately, he slammed the proponents of the terror bill and warned that they will be held accountable by the people.

“Many sectors are now united in #JunkTerrorBill, from the basic and middle sectors, and even business groups. The bill exposes fascism or the ideology that does not recognize the people’s basic rights are deeply embraced by the incumbents in the legislative and executive branches. The bill’s proponents incriminate themselves as hypocrites in governance but who could not even uphold due process, rule of law and respect for human rights. There will be a day of reckoning for all who intend to undermine democracy and freedom in the country,” he ended. ###

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